Some of you know that the past 2 years and 8 months in Michigan have been one of the hardest seasons of my life. (For many reasons... maybe someday I will elaborate more on that.) Michigan is not my favorite place (helllooo, I'm a Southern Belle! If there's no SEC football or sweet tea or Chick-Fil-A then I'm not really going to feel 'at home'!) BUT with all that said, there are still plenty of things we will miss about the place we called "home" for our first 2 and 1/2 years of marriage.
We will miss our house. Our 3 bedroom, beautiful little house that the Gutierrez family worked so hard to prepare for us, and our dear, dear friend Arlene let us rent for only $300 a month! (I know - we were crazy blessed!) This little house was our first home as a married couple. It's where we came home from our honeymoon, and where Rusty carried me over the threshold. It's the first place I was able to truly call my own, and the place I realized I love to decorate! It's where we decided to make The Sound of Hope our own non-profit. It's where we laughed and planned and cried and fought and dreamed. We will miss that familiar feeling of coming "home" here after a long trip... we will miss the way the light floods through all the big windows.... we will miss our big front porch and the swing Rusty napped in.... we will miss the big back porch and the back yard full of flowers. And of course, we will miss my cute little "backyard bunnies" I have chased since we moved in (though I never did catch one!). After all, that's how I got my pet-name "Bunny" from Rusty! ;)
We will miss our church. The people who welcomed us in before they even knew us and made a place for us. The people who gave all of us (World Racers included) lots of furniture when we first moved to help us get on our feet. Pastor Mark & Tracee, Doug & Carrie, the Leadership Team, the people I sang on the worship team with, the guys Rusty played softball with, and all the amazing people whose stories we told through Rusty's video work with CC... not to mention the wonderful individuals and families who have chosen to support us & The Sound of Hope financially! I wish I could name everyone we'll miss from church but I'd surely forget a name (there are just too many people!) I look at all the sweet kids from our church and I can't believe how much we have seen them grow up over the past few years! We will definitely miss our hugs from sweet little Zoe, Haven, and Saige Gearhart, and watching Cory Wargo play football! :)
We will miss doing iStock shoots with Shawn and Rosie! I seriously had SO much fun with this "side job" over the past year a half! Brainstorming ideas with Shawn, pulling together costumes and props, and then the shoots themselves were just a blast! I've been a rockstar and a renaissance queen, a cowgirl and a cook, a nurse and a nerd, a "couple in love" and a 50's/60's girl, a businesswoman and a bride, a wife and a mom. We've done a Fall shoot, a Christmas shoot, a New Year's shoot, and just recently, a shopping shoot! It's been great to have this creative outlet, and SO neat to see where these pictures have started turning up! Plus, Shawn & Rosie are so talented! I have been amazed at the photos they've taken! We've been really blessed to have spent so much time with them and their sweet family!
And believe it or not - we will miss the weather! Okay... not all of it (about half the year here it is just miserable!) but we actually love the snow! We think it's beautiful. It will be odd not seeing it this winter (though I will be glad when it's not snowing in April, blech!) I am proud to say that this Southern Belle actually learned how to adapt to the snow and ice! We also LOVE Autumn here... there is no where in the world I've ever seen the trees turn so beautifully! And the fact that it really "feels" like Fall with a crisp, cool breeze tops it off! And then, there are the summers. Granted, they are short, but they are incredible! 70's to 80's with very little humidity and a cool breeze....ahhhh! If we could find a way to live up North July - December, and then down South the rest of the year, I think we'd be in heaven! (Weather-wise anyway! :)
I'm sure there are other things we will miss over time, or just find odd that we don't see anymore. It will be weird not to see signs for Canada (we live on a border town here), Canadian car tags and money, and not to hear people speaking French in Target and TJ Maxx. It will be odd not to see the river or the lake - both are truly beautiful (even in the ice and snow!) and the seagulls they bring all over town. We have a lot of "adjustments" ahead, even if we're returning to somewhere familiar!
But, on the way out of town, I just wanted to remember all the things we loved about Michigan. And to say "thank you" to the people here who have welcomed us, loved us and prayed for us while we've been here. We hope you all stay in touch!
Goodbye Michigan! Thanks for the memories!